Enen no Shouboutai Episode 2: Recap and Review

Arthur and Excalibur

Episode 2, The Heart of a Fire Soldier

This episode introduces us to the “Rookie Fire Soldier Games,” and a new character, Arthur Boyle. The rival of Shinra, Arthur is instantly antagonistic towards him. The self appointed “Knight King,” Arthur uses his third generation fire abilities to create a plasma sword. He leans heavily on the “King Arthur”mythology calling his sword, Excalibur. Arthur doesn’t seem terrible bright and largely typical for a rival to the main character. Maki shows off some of her powers. She’s a former soldier with dangerous hand to hand combat skills. She’s single handily defeats Shinra and Arthur. Maki also can create “living” flame or at least that’s how the look.

Maki fighting Arthur

Lieutenant Hinawa continues to be a hard ass, but I found it to be more reasonable for him to be that way than in the first episode. If everyone took this job too lightly they probably wouldn’t succeed. I think Hinawa will be the voice of reason in this series. He will be useful in keeping everyone in line. The team receives an emergency call. Captain Obi tells them that they shouldn’t show their weapons in public. Both, Shinra and Arthur disregard this rule. Obi sternly criticizes them for doing so. He informs them that it’s inappropriate for to do that in front of family members.

The Infernal

We are shown a new villain that seems to be responsible for the fires. Team 8 head into the building to find the Infernal sitting at a table. Arthur quietly “ends” his suffering. It’s a somber moment and shows the saddest involved with becoming an Infernal. The first episode would have given many the impression that all Infernals become violent and need to be “killed” in an epic show down. This episode reminded us that the Infernal are victims that deserve sympathy.

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Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 15: Recap & Review

Episode 15, Mount Natagumo

Tanjiro, Zenitsu and Inosuke are told that their fully healed. Zenitsu has now been informed that Nezuko is Tanjiro’s sister. A Kungai crow arrives and informs them that they’re to report to Mt. Natagumo. While on the path to Mt. Natagumo they encounter a fellow Demon Slayer that appears to be under control of a demon. Inosuke and Tanjiro head into the forest to find out. We see four demons in the shadows. Tanjiro and Inosuke run into a demon slayer and he informs them that there were ten initially.

Suddenly the slayers started attacking each other. We get a glimpse of the Demon Slayer commander, that takes note that his “children” have been slaughtered. He decides to send two Hashiras, Tomioka Giyu and Shinobu, as he believes that they maybe dealing with the Twelve Kizuki. Zenitsu finally heads towards the mountain when he realizes that Tanjiro took Nezuko with him. Meanwhile, Tanjiro and Inosuke are attacked by the remaining Demon Slayers under the control of the demons. However, they learn that the small spiders are attaching the threads to the Demon Slayers.

Without Tanjiro’s ability to smell the demon, it’s up to Inosuke to find her. A white haired and skinned demon appears telling them not to interfere with his family or his “mother” will kill them. He walks away on one of the spider webs. Inosuke attempts to attack the demon but can’t reach. He uses the seventh form of the Beast breathing technique and is able to locate her using his “spiritual awareness.” We know that each demon has a backstory, I wonder if the spider demons are actually related biologically. Regardless, it seems that Tanjiro, Zenitsu, Inosuke, Nezuko and Murata may be over their heads. I’m excited to see how strong Hashiras really are.

Vinland Saga Episode 1: Recap & Review

Thors in a dream state

Episode 1: Somewhere not here

If you watched Game of Thrones then you may have felt some instant similarities in this series. Generally, I don’t watch a lot of Historical Seinen anime. Actually, Vinland Saga is my first. This episode begins with Thors (everybody seems to be named after the god Thor) daydreaming in a wheat field. Turns out he’s on the battle field. We get a glimpse of the stunning animation and brutal violence. Thors dominates, killing enemies with ease as he travels from boat to boat. In a fury of slashes and blood, Thors appears to be unfazed and unafraid. At the end of this scene he washes up on shore, leaving the burning boats behind.

Thorfinn listening to Leif

We move forward to years later on Iceland. Thorfinn is doing chores. We hear a likely false or exaggerated story from his Grandfather, Leif Erickson. Thorfinn lives with his father Thors, his mother Helga and his sister Ylfa. The next morning Ylfa and Thors begin shoveling the snow off of their room. Ylfa falls off and lands on a slave that was under the snow. The man is malnourished, badly scared and seemingly has frostbite on his limbs. Thors tries to save him from death. Meanwhile, Grandpa Leif tells Thorfinn a probably true story of being marooned on ice and having 6 of his crewmates die. He also explains why they left the warm Norway for the freezing Iceland.

The slave

They fled from a strongman named Harald. Thorfinn calls him a “lair,” and runs home. The slave begins to speak and explains that he’s from Halfdan’s. Halfdan arrives to collect his slave. When one of his men steps out of line, Halfdan wraps his chain around his face and pulls. The man is severely disfigured as a result. The slave talks about his family as he becomes delirious. When Halfdan comes to get him, Thors offers ewes for the dying slave. He ends up trading eight for the slave. He quickly dies, leaving Ylfa distraught . . . over the sheep. It was a dark moment but a funny one. Finally, we see a boat with a blond man with a scar approaching what we can assume is Iceland.

King of Norway, Harald

Like many of the series I’ve review this summer, I really liked Vinland Saga. I’ll review the other two episode released in the coming days but this episode was well done. The animation was amazing, and so far I like the characters. It’s hard to know the tone of this series just yet, but it feels like there will be a combination of dark themes (slavery) but also humor. I already know that Thors isn’t going to live very long. That’s why I referenced Game of Thrones before. The warrior with a heart of gold dies early in the series. The characterization of Thors had such an powerful effect on me I’m already dreading his death.

Dr. Stone Episode 1, Recap and Review

Yuzuriha

Episode 1, Stone World

As I’ve stated before the premier episode of series is largely about laying the groundwork. You have too establish the world and introduce the characters. They can be a little dull sometimes but are always necessary. Taiju Oki decides that he’s going to tell the girl he’s been in love with for 5 years how he feels. At this moment a bright green light appears in the sky turning everyone into stone. As a result the world is plunged into chaos. As people turn to stone the planes, cars and buses crash. The human population appears to be the only one that is turned into stone. We see dogs, wolves and monkeys that are still “alive.”

Taiju professing his love

What is terrifying is that it appears that the people are able to think while encased in stone. One woman asks for “help.” Taiju keeps talking to himself to maintain his sanity. As years go by nature takes over the world destroying what was once human civilization. Taiju eventually breaks free. Having not aged, he searches for Yuzuriha and finds her by a tree. He finally tells her that he loves her. She’s still stone of course, but we know that people are still aware while stoned. What is interesting or even romantic is that Taiju literally has loved her for over a hundred years.

Senku welcoming Taiju

He sees above her head a message to “follow the river downstream, big oaf.” He meets with his old friend Senku Ishigami. It’s October 5th, 5738 and Senku has been free for six months. Turns out that Senku used his time in stone to count the seconds. Obviously, we have to suspend disbelief with this series. It’s hard to believe that neither, Senku or Taiju wouldn’t go insane from the isolation. Regardless, Taiju was waiting for a “meathead.” Senku will handle the “brainy stuff” and Taiju the “heavy lifting.” Senku plans to “take the world back,” and “figure out the science behind the petrification.”

Shishio Tsukasa is gonna be a problem

Taiju is the typical dumb jock type with Senku appearing to be an egotistic genius. Time will tell if these archetypes hold. While foolishly eating berries, Taiju stumbles on what he calls the “strongest primate high-schooler,” Shishio Tsukasa. Afterward, Taiju sees the cave that he was freed in. Senku is collecting a liquid from bat guano, “nitric acid.” Senku has been experimenting on a way to free people from stone. He’s been using the stoned birds. Senku tells Taiju that he needs “liquor.” Despite Taiju lack of intelligence he does give Senku a good idea, make wine out of the aforementioned berries.

Senku proclaiming his mission to save humanity

I loved this episode it was a perfect introduction to this series. Senku doesn’t seem like a traditional main character for a Shonen series. The main protagonist of the shonen series is usually the air headed, dark haired brute. Although, you could make a case that they’re both the main characters. The most pressing question at the moment is who will get freed next? I think it’s clearly going to be Yuzuriha and Shishio. It makes sense that Taiju would want to free Yuzuriha but Shishio is clearly a bad idea. However, Yuzuriha did seem to like Taiju all that much to me. Would it work out the way he thinks?

To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts: Episode 1, Recap and Review

The Incarnates beast forms

Episode 1, To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts

You never know what to expect from a new series. This of course leads to anticipation but can leave you disappointed. The first episode of To Abandoned Sacred Beasts, entitled . . . To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts, left me desiring more. I wasn’t a bad debut episode, just not a particularly great one. Of course the first episode is tasked with setting the series up, resulting in a sometimes unsatisfying introduction. Hank and his unit of Incarnates (super soldiers) were created to turn the tide of war. The episode begins with a frontal assault by the North, they’re slaughtered. The first question I had was why get your army killed if you have the Incarnates?

Elaine and Hank

Predictably, the Incarnates lay waste to the southern forces. The designs of the beast weren’t that creative. On guy just gains horse legs becoming a boring centaur. Most of the beast forms are likely to be inspired either directly or indirectly by mythological creatures. Why one person turns into on thing over the other isn’t explained. My best guess is that it’s random. In the future I’m certain that we will see why these soldiers were chosen. The Incarnates are lead by Hank Henriette, his second in command Cain Madhouse and the creator of the Incarnates, Elaine. If you couldn’t guess from the name Cain predictable becomes a traitor.

Some fan-service

Before this moment one of the Incarnates, Ari goes berserk. He kills soldiers from both sides during his rampage. The soldiers from the north open fire and while incapacitated he commits suicide rather than lose himself. This leads Hank to swear an oath, which will become his motivation for the series. It will be the responsibility of the Incarnates to hunt down and kill each other when they lose their minds. As I mentioned Cain betrays Elaine and Hank, but after Elaine attempts to kill Hank. She has decided that killing all the beast then herself is the only answer she can think of. Cain is the typical villain, his name and his long hair were a dead give away.

Hank fighting a Incarnate

Hank hunts down one of the Incarnates during the ending credits (I guess that’s going to be a thing in anime now). While it’s short, I did enjoy it as Hank appears to turn into a werewolf. Overall, this series is mediocre. The animation is so so and the story needs to be fleshed out more. I don’t care much for anime music so I won’t pass any judgement on that aspect, but the story did have some comedic moments that didn’t quiet last. I didn’t care about the romance between Hank and Elaine. Nor did I care that she died. Lastly the fan-service in the form Liza while not gratuitous feels unnecessary (maybe that’s true of all fan-service). If she suppose to be a serious soldier, why have her spilling out of her top. It’s not the end of the world though. I give this series a few more episodes before deciding if it’s worth my time.

One Punch Man S2 – Episode 12: Recap & Review

Garou taking a beating

Episode 12, Cleaning up the Disciple’s Mess

Bang dominates an injured Garou, as Genos notes that Bang is better than Garou. It seems unlikely that he would be able to win considering Genos, Bang and Bomb are so strong. Phoenix Man is flying around, tasked by Orochi to get Garou. He of course is hesitate as he would need to get past all the heroes. Garou concludes that in order to survive he would need to kill, Bomb, Bang and Genos. What is interesting is that despite Garou being hurt, Bomb AND Bang fight him together. Garou remembers his childhood which predictably saw him being bullied by his Tatsu. While playing hero, Garou is always casts as the “monster.” He associates his childhood with the belief that heroes fighting monsters is always unfair. This is important to know as Bang and Bomb prove his point by attacking him together. However, Phoenix Man arrives and takes Garou.

Bang and Bomb double team Garou

Genos decides that he’s going to kill them both with his Spiral Incineration Cannon. Elder Centipede interferes. Bomb, Genos and Bang rescue the fallen heroes. Phoenix Man explains to Garou that he should kill the heroes instead of leaving them alive.I think so far what has kept Garou from truly being a monster is this fact. Phoenix Man goes on to say that Elder Centipede is going to destroy “everything.” According to the monster strategist, Gyoro-Gyoro, there are ONLY four heroes that can defeat the Elder Centipede. Terrible Tornado, because of her psychic powers, Metal Knight, that “hoards military might on an unknown scale.” King, the “strongest human alive,” and the top hero Blast. Of course we know that King is weak and it’s Saitama that’s the strongest human. Regardless, Elder Centipede joined the Monster Association to get revenge.

Elder Centipede

Neither Genos or Bang aren’t well suited to combat Elder Centipede. When Bang and Bomb land a devastating attack it molts, and heals as if nothing happened. Genos decides that he will fight the Elder Centipede alone. Genos ends up cut in half but is able to reconnect himself. He gets swallowed and uses his Ultra Spiral Incineration Cannon. It still does nothing. Bang, Genos and Bomb flee with the other heroes. As Bang prepares to die fighting, King arrives claiming that he brought Blast. As the Elder Centipede comes to attack King, Saitama arrives and defeats it with One Punch.

Saitama destroys Elder Centipede

This is ended rather abruptly if you asked me. Maybe they didn’t have enough time or money to animated the entire arc? Regardless, I’m hoping they find a better animator for the next season. While I could tolerate this season it wasn’t the beautiful animation form the first season. Anyway, Saitama really took a step back this season. Instead we focused on a human villain. It was a bit refreshing. I’m predicting that Garou becomes a actually monster, as he’s not strong enough as he is. Genos seems to have figured out his limits. Genos has everything but “power.” This isn’t completely true as he is a S Class hero, but he’s also not as strong as many monsters or other S Class heroes. I wonder how strong he and Garou will become.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 12 & 13: Recap & Review

Episode 12, The Boar Bares its Fangs

Inosuke Hashibira, is the boar headed warrior attacks Kyogai. When he steps on Teruko he comes into conflict with Tanjiro. He said that he chipped his sword deliberately so his sword would shred flesh instead of slice neatly like Tanjiro’s. The demon separates Tanjiro, Teruko, and Inosuke. Tanjiro and Teruko find her brother. Meanwhile, Zenitsu and Shoichi draw the attention of another demon after Zenitsu screams in terror. The demon gives chase leading Zenitsu to pass out and go to sleep. In this state he manages to defeat the demon with Thunder Form.

This part was epic. It was a little predictable that Zenitsu would have great fighting ability despite his cowardice. Of course he doesn’t remember he killed the demon and assumes Shoichi did. I still hold out that Zenitsu is going to surprise us with his character. Anyway, we get a glimpse of Inosuke’s fighting style. He uses a self-made style Beast Form and quickly defeats the demon. Kyogai is in search of “marechi” the rare blood of a human that’s worth 100 people. It is revealed that Kyogai is a former member of the Twelve Moons. So far we have been teased by the power of this group.

We’ve seen two false ones and a former. This helps set up of expectation of what the future encounter with one of the Twelve will be like. Tanjiro faces off against Kyogai who begins to flip the room over and uses his claw attack. Tanjiro begins to learn how the ability of Kyogai works. However, with his leg still broken, Tanjiro has trouble getting close to Kyogai. Tanjiro claims that he ready to fight.


Episode 13, Something more Important

The house shifts once again, but finally frees Zenitsu and Shoichi as they’re thrown outside. When the room flips papers are thrown around, Tanjiro takes careful effort not to step on them. As a result Kyogai has a flashback. In the flashback, he is seen as being belittled by someone. This series does well when giving the demons more of a humanizing story. It’s really effective. Tanjiro releases that in order to fight well he needs to “take shallow breathe,” and “reinforce the muscle around his leg.”

Tanjiro also begins to smell the claw attack. Using this new tactic, Tanjiro is able to avoid the claw attack. Tanjiro is able to finally get close to Kyogai and decapitate him. Before he does, Tanjiro compliments Kyogai on his Blood Art. As he dies, Kyogai cries as he finally has had his blood art and writing recognized. Tanjiro uses a knife that Yushiro gave him to collect blood from Kyogai. So far in this series they have convenient elements in the universe. The ravens that give the missions and now the cat that collect the blood. I’m not complaining, but I like they way the manage these elements.

Tanjiro finds Kiyoshi and Teruko, bringing them outside. Here he finds Zenitsu being assaulted by Inosuke. I’ve always predicted that Zenitsu was more than his initial impression. He has shown that he does have courage. Tanjiro finds that Zenitsu was protecting Nezuko from Inosuke. Zenitsu always knew that there was a demon in the but trusted Tanjiro had a good reason for it. Nezuko is going to become a big problem for Tanjiro. Zenitsu may accept her, but I’m not sure anyone else will. I predict that Inosuke and Tanjiro won’t fight for long before someone interrupts them, most likely the raven giving them their next mission.

Dororo Episode 24: Recap & Review

Hyakkimaru and Tahomaru accept each other

Episode 24, Dororo and Hyakkimaru

The final episode of Dororo begins with Tahomaru and Hyakkimaru continuing their battle among the blaze of Daigo castle. Both lay claims to the castle and their mother. As Oku head into the hidden passage to the castle, she asks Dororo to stay by her son side like she always had. Oku and Jukai meet as the brothers continues their brutal battle. Hyakkimaru finally gets the upper hand and decides not to kill Tahomaru because “they are both human.” Tahomaru concedes that he “lost.”

Oku apologizes

However, the demon takes control over Tahomaru. He removes the eyes which then return to Hyakkimaru when he defeats the demon beneath the floor. Oku apologizes to both her sons, she decides to stay with Tahomaru as he dies in her arms. Daigo hears the news from the castle and continues his war effort. The final demon statue crumbles as well. Dororo decides that she’s going to use the money to help the people build up their own country. Hyakkimaru finally meets his father in the Hall of Hell. Daigo has learn nothing, suggesting that if he must he will simply feed “another human” to the demons. This includes Hyakkimaru as well.

Tahomaru dies in his mother’s arm

His only regret is that he left Hyakkimaru to a midwife, instead of strangling him. Hyakkimaru refrains from killing his father, instead telling him that he “better not become a demon.” Daigo wonders if he hadn’t struck a deal with a demon, Hyakkimaru may have had the strength to save the land. Hyakkimaru leaves Dororo behind looking to find himself. The ending wasn’t to clear to me, but it does show that Dororo grows up and appears to meet Hyakkimaru in the golden rice fields. Regardless, the series ending was bitter sweet.

Dororo all grown up

Overall, this series was well worth it. While some of the animation was poorly rendered the story of tragedy and triumph was the most important part of this series. The theme of the importance of a individual or larger society is never clearly concluded. However, Dororo deciding to help the people build their own society suggest that a compromise is possible, each individual can contribute to the success of their society. The anime series does change some things from the manga. Instead of 48 demons, Hyakkimaru has to fight 12. Jukai’s story is expanded upon, and many of the events, detail and tone are change. Dororo is a good , albeit a darker adaptation.

Hyakkimaru in the golden rice field

Attack On Titan Episode 58: Recap & Review

Episode 58, Attack Titan

The Owl’s real name is Eren Kruger. Grisha question Eren on why he refused to transform sooner. As Eren collapses he confesses to “cutting off the fingers and turning thousands of subjects of Ymir into Titans.” He believed that this would help Eldia. He gives Grisha a mission to get the founding Titan’s power. He tells Grisha that he will “inherit” his Titan and the reason he can’t do it himself is that those “who inherit one of the Nine Titans dies thirteen years later.” This is called “Ymir’s curse,” meaning that Armin has thirteen years to live and Eren has less than eight.

Mikasa believes that this must be a lie, although she may be in doubt. Eren states that if a bearer dies without being eaten a baby will be born with the ability. Eren explains that all subjects of Ymir are connected by the Coordinate (Founding Titan). Grisha cowards in front of the new mission he’s expected to undertake. He’s feels too much guilt. Regardless, Eren is able to convince him to take up the mission. He reveals that each Titan has a name, and his Titan is called the Attack Titan. Levi and Hange arrive and release Eren and Mikasa. They are heading to meet Queen Historia.

Historia is reading the letter the Ymir wrote to her. In the letter Ymir suggest that she will be killed and that she wanted to marry Historia. When she touches the letter she sees what looks like Ymir’s entire life. The Scouts explain what happened at the Wall so the rest of the government are up to speed. Hange explains that while Eren has inherited the Founding Titan’s power he can’t use it because he’s not of royal blood. However, a royal descendant that inherits the Founding Titan wouldn’t be possessed by the King’s will preventing from acting against the world.

Eren realizes that he was able to use the power of the Founding Titan because he was touching Dina. He’s unsure what would happen to Historia if he revealed this as a possible reason. In the flashback, Eren tells Grisha he needs to “love” someone, otherwise “history will repeat itself.” He then says something strange. He tells Grisha if he ” wants to save Mikasa, Armin, and everyone else,” he must complete his mission. Grisha is unaware who he’s talking about. Eren seems to be unaware who’s memory he was tapping into. I’ll admit this part was so confusing or shocking that I though it might be a translation error.

We know that Grisha became a father figure to Mikasa after he parents death, did he assume that he had to protect her? What we also know is that memories can be past “along” the “path.” It was never stated that these memories could it only go from the past to the current Titan holder. What if it could go from the current to the past as well. Of course this is just a guess and it would be confusing if it worked that way. Regardless, the depth of storytelling and newly introduced mythos makes this series even more entertaining. The final episode will likely be a setup for the next season, but with Attack on Titan you just never know.

Lupin the Third Part 5 – Episode 1: Recap & Review

Lupin in disguise

Episode 1 – The Girl in the Twin Towers

Lupin and the gang is back this time they have a more modern world to deal with. In the premier episode Lupin aims to steal digital currency from “Marco Polo,” an online store on the “dark web.” I seems simpler to steal online currency from criminals that to rob a bank in person. Together Lupin and Daisuke Jigen break into the underwater tower to find Ami, who created the payment system for Marco Polo. When they arrive Lupin disguises himself as her “father”. However, this fails as he mispronounces her name and she shoots at him with a gun.

Ami taking aim

Ami uses her gear to transmit intruder data to security. The security head down to save her. Jigen uses his knowledge of guns to determine that she only has one bullet left. Lupin approaches her with his hands up claiming to be a “prophet.” As Jigen holds of the security, Lupin gets close to Ami. She pulls the trigger, but doesn’t have any bullets remaining. Turns out that while pretending to be her father, when Lupin hugged her he took one bullet out of her gun’s clip. While, I found the trick to be clever it seems far-fetch to me. Furthermore, why only steal one bullet and not two?

Zenigata and his police force surround Lupin’s crew

Anyway, Lupin introduces himself, and notes that he’s a great thief. Ami asks if he can steal anything? She wants him to “steal her” as she is trapped by “invisible chains,” in exchange she will help him steal from Marco Polo. Surprisingly, Goemon is hidden among the security and takes them out. Ami manages to steal what looks like billions in digital currency (it was clear how much the digital currency was worth). In a typical move from Lupin he lets the “dark web” know that he was responsible for the thief. Anyway, while in a hideout they’re surrounded by Zenigata and his men.

Lupin and his crew trying to escape

Having pissed of the “dark web” a new online game was created, “Arrest Lupin III.” They are chased by police the following morning, ending with Lupin driving their car into the water. With the Lupin game going viral, his every move is being watched and broadcast worldwide. Clearly, this is suppose to be both a commentary on the dangers of losing one’s privacy due to surveillance and the internet. In addition to that how does a thief that needs to escape from time to time and avoid detection in this new tech driven world. Stealing money has never been easier with tech. but so is being followed. It’s going to be interesting how Lupin manages to survive this new obstacle. Overall, Lupin the third (P5) is clever, funny and well animated. I look forward to watching this season.